Should You Get AWS Certified?
In most cases the answer is yes!
Certifications are a popular way for people to get up to speed with AWS. That’s why many companies promote and even subsidise them.
Some certifications are relatively more straightforward whereas others can be quite tough. Of course, this always depends on someone’s level, prior experience and (crucially) time at hand. Studying towards a certification while juggling between a full-time job and other responsibilities is certainly challenging.
Are Certifications Worth The Effort?
According to the 2021 Global Knowledge survey, 80% of interviewed IT professionals have seen an increase in their job effectiveness, including improved quality of work, increased engagement, and faster job performance, as a result of obtaining an IT certification.
IT certifications are not a guarantee of competence if taken in isolation, but they can be a cheap and effective way for companies to ensure a knowledge baseline among teams.
I recommend that anyone who is working in the cloud and adopting serverless get an AWS certification (you may want to look at equivalent GCP or Azure certifications if your company has reasons not to go with AWS).
A great place to start is the AWS Developer Associate certification; this certification assumes a couple of years of experience working with AWS, but you can study a little more to make up for the lack of practical experience.
Other certifications exist and can be pursued, depending on the specific role. For example, the Machine Learning, Database, Security, and other “specialty” certifications are especially focused on those topics.
More advanced certifications such as the Solutions Architect Professional and the DevOps Engineer Professional are also available to those who want to go above and beyond. They are more difficult to achieve, but obtaining them guarantees considerable knowledge in how to use and architect cloud applications.
Who Shouldn’t Get a Certification?
While getting a certification could always be a good idea, I wouldn’t recommend investing in it if you already have upwards of 5 years worth of experience with the cloud. By then, you probably have enough knowledge that can be easily attested without the need for a certification.
Once you reach a certain level of experience, there are other ways to make your knowledge more “official” and public. For example, you could consider applying to the AWS Community Builders programme. Getting active on social media as well as writing for online publications is another way to grow your profile while helping others with your hard-earned skills.
Before reaching that level of experience, getting an AWS certification is a fantastic way to upskill yourself and jumpstart your cloud knowledge.